Long before becoming an injury lawyer, life growing up in Chattanooga was like growing up anywhere in America. The experiences we all have as kids can be strikingly similar, the transition to adulthood even more so.
Remember those first few years after you got your driver’s license? Back when you only looked forward to graduation from high school? Back when life seemed long and thoughts about the fragility of your own body never crossed your mind?
Well, that’s exactly how teens feel today, too. Yes, even in 2011, 16- to 20-year-olds adopt the lifestyle of a “young adult,” and rankle at being treated like teenagers. They don’t understand it, because youth remains impermeable in its own mind. Only time and experience can change that. So, Mom and Dad, don’t let go yet! Any injury lawyer can tell you there are things only adult eyes can foresee, especially when it comes to driving. And an accident caused by falling asleep at the wheel is one of them.Any injury lawyer can tell you there are things only adult eyes can foresee, especially when it comes to driving. And an accident caused by falling asleep at the wheel is one of them.
As you may know from experience, doing anything while drowsy is a losing battle. Your brain can’t concentrate on anything else while you
battle to keep your eyes open. Ever try to concentrate on a high school history lecture after being up all night working, studying or just goofing around? Did you take in much information? Could you even hold onto your pen and take notes?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, some people specifically are at a high risk of falling asleep at the wheel. Two of those high-risk groups are people who are excessively sleepy because of lifestyle factors or a sleep disorder, and males age 26 and younger.
Young adults want to do it all, and many young adult males fit into both those high-risk demographics above. They’re eager for experience. School, sports, parties, hobbies… The most ambitious will try to cram it all in. Eventually, cramming catches up with everyone; even the best and the brightest students like 18-year-old Warren Mackey, Jr.
Mackey, a promising young athlete at Central High School here in Chattanooga, pushed his body to its limits, and though his activities were good and fulfilling, the toll on his body was just too much. On Jan. 4, 1998, after a sporting event, staying awake all night with friends, attending two church services and enjoying family meals, he fell asleep at the wheel of his truck and was killed on impact when he hit a tree.
The new school year has started for most of Chattanooga. Newly licensed drivers are starting to tackle it all for the fall semester. It may be hard — or impossible — for a parent to make their high school kid get enough rest, but every parent can help their teen avoid some dangerous situations. Talk to your teen about driving while tired. Make sure he or she knows you’re on call for a ride home if it gets too late, or a driver is too sleepy. Insist on dropping off and picking up your kid if you think he or she is too worn out to drive somewhere alone. Letting your teen feel a little embarrassed by the chauffeur service could prevent something far worse — a car accident.